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I have to ‘reprogram my thinking’ as a batsman – Carlos Brathwaite

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West Indies have won only two of their last 11 completed ODIs. It’s an alarming stat on paper, but the team, according to Carlos Brathwaite, isn’t doing as badly as those results might suggest.

“I don’t think we are that far away,” Brathwaite said after West Indies’ training session on Tuesday. “We just continue to miss key points in the game. If we look back at the World Cup it is the same thing. If we look at the game the other day we weren’t cruising, but we were in a good position, and then we lost three or four quick wickets.

“We are just missing a few key moments that could have turned one or two loses into wins and make us look a little better, give us a little momentum, and start to try to win series more consistently.”

Chasing 270 in 46 overs in Sunday’s second ODI, West Indies lost a potentially winnable game when they slipped from 179 for 4 to 182 for 8. Brathwaite felt it wasn’t a lack of belief or skills that was causing West Indies to let such key moments slip, but a failure to execute those skills.

“I don’t think it is belief per se,” he said. “I think if you ask the guys in the dressing room if they believe they can win – I think they do believe they can win. The execution of that belief is lacking in key moments like I said. So, I don’t think it’s a lack of belief or a lack of passion and in most cases it’s not even a lack of skill, but just executing what we want to execute the key moments of the game, which was the case in majority of the World Cup and this series so far.”

As to what the players need to do in order to become more consistent, and not repeat mistakes, Brathwaite said they would not find time in the middle of international series to work on their games, and would need to put in that work at the levels below, with their respective domestic teams.

“It’s practice. It’s conversation,” Brathwaite said. “If I am being brutally honest, there is not much we can change on the international tour. That is the challenge for the [domestic] franchise to be able to do enough work, get enough information from the guys at the top. and start implementing stuff. On the tour we try to get the mind right, we try to, as a group, have conversations and honest conversations – not just patting them on the back but having honest conversations, sometimes even being harsh and try to become better players eventually.”

Speaking about his own game, he said he’s been focusing on his fitness, and his mindset as a batsman.

“We are having a lot of honest conversations with the coaches and the staff and I think one thing that’s kept me back is my fitness. I am working very, very hard in the past 12 to 14 months on my fitness – I believe I can get a bit stronger as well.

“I think batting-wise I have to reprogram my thinking in thinking about hitting and swiping and batting properly. I think there has been a conscious effort for me to try to help the team as a batsman and a bowler and try to give myself the best chance for the team and try to help West Indies win cricket games.”

Going back to his 82-ball 101 against New Zealand at the World Cup, Brathwaite said he had walked in with time to build his innings – a rarity for a lower-order batsman like him – and that his challenge would be to perform consistently even without that luxury.

“I had a lot of time to bat. I had a clear thought process,” he said. “I was working very hard off the pitch, as I am now, with the bat, in trying to do the right things and the simple things as long as possible. I had enough time so I could play myself in getting so at the back end when I normally come in to bat to start my innings I already had [faced] 40-50 balls.

“The challenge for me is that that situation won’t always present itself. Obviously, being at home, we have changed the combination a bit. There I played at seven [six], here at eight, nine or maybe seven – the thing I take away from that innings is the way I structured and built the innings which allowed me to kick off at the back end.”

With a full training session under their belt, Brathwaite said West Indies were in good spirits for the third ODI, and were confident of squaring the series.

“We drew the last series against England at home as well,” he said. “And then going into the last game it’s for us to get the batting in order – if we get good starts going into the back end that’ll give us a good chance.

“I think the batting has much improved especially since the T20s and from the overall batting performance in the World Cup as well. But, we didn’t close it off. We batted well in the second game as well, it was about closing it off – hopefully that happens in the next game as well and for the lower half to close the game.”



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‘Said I’d take back my 92 immediately for one run out here’ – Jack Leach

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Jack Leach said that he told Ben Stokes he would trade his innings of 92 against Ireland for a single run in England’s remarkable fourth-innings chase of 356 to win the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

Leach made one not out off 17 balls in a last-wicket partnership of 76 off 62 balls with Stokes, stealing a single to level the scores, before celebrating wildly after Stokes’ winning boundary.

“It was a special feeling,” he told Sky. “Stokesy – unbelievable, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The crowd – insane. To be part of that at the end was an incredible feeling.”

ALSO READ: One of the ‘top two moments I’ve had on a cricket field’ – Stokes

Leach said that Stokes “didn’t really say a lot” to him as he strode out to bat. “Obviously when I first went in, it was about [the fact that] he was going to have a lot of the strike, being ready to run two, and I just broke it down into the balls that I had to face.”

Leach regularly held Australia up while wiping his glasses free of sweat – in the same manner as his Somerset team-mate Marcus Trescothick – and said that he “had to make sure that I had them clean, because I wouldn’t want to be facing up with the drips [of sweat] coming down.”

“I know I look stupid when I’m out there,” he said, “but it got the job done.”

At times, Stokes refused to watch at the non-striker’s end, and Leach laughed that his partner had “put me off a little bit”.

“He told me at one point ‘I couldn’t watch that ball’, Leach said, and as one [of the bowlers] was running in I thought – he’s not watching again! I thought: ‘have a bit of faith!’

“You do sort of zone out,” Leach said, “but I didn’t think ‘oh God, it’s quiet’ when they were running in, I thought ‘watch the ball, watch the ball’. But then the cheers when Stokesy’s sixes were just going over the boundary… the crowd just went beserk.”

Leach said the win was “a big boost for us,” adding that at one-all, it was “all to play for”.

“We were desperate to win this game, and somehow we’ve pulled it off. It’s very special. To be part of that at the end was an incredible feeling.”



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Recent Match Report – Loughborough Lightning vs Lancashire Thunder, Women’s Cricket Super League, 25th Match

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Loughborough Lightning 123 for 2 (Jones 66*) beat Lancashire Thunder 122 (Glenn 3-25, Gunn 3-14) by eight wickets

England wicketkeeper Amy Jones made her second half-century of the competition as Loughborough Lightning eased to an eight-wicket victory over Lancashire Thunder in their Kia Super League clash at Trent Bridge.

Watched by a crowd of more than 3,000 ahead of Nottinghamshire Outlaws’ game against Yorkshire Vikings in the Vitality Blast, opener Jones hit eight fours and a six in her unbeaten 66 as Lightning, already through to next Sunday’s Finals Day at Hove, saw out a sixth win in seven matches with 23 balls to spare.

Thunder, who have lost eight of their nine matches to finish bottom of the KSL table, have one more chance to register a first win when they take on Surrey Stars at Blackpool on Wednesday, having picked up their only points in a tie with Southern Vipers.

Vipers provide Lightning with their final league stage opponents at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday evening in which looks set to be a rehearsal of their likely semi-final meeting at Hove.

“I’m pretty happy to have been able to contribute,” said Jones. “I’ve been a bit quiet since the first game so I’m so pleased to have scored some runs today.

“It’s the first time I’ve played at Trent Bridge so it was pretty cool to make a score here. A lot of people came in early to watch, which was fantastic and it really felt like they were behind us. We’ve picked up some momentum going into the back end of the season and hopefully it holds us in good stead for Finals Day, so we’re really excited.”

Legspinner Sarah Glenn and England allrounder Jenny Gunn finished with three wickets each as Thunder were bowled out for 122 inside 20 overs, Sophia Dunkley top-scoring with 29. South African Sune Luus made 27 but Thunder’s other overseas players, Tahlia McGrath and Harmanpreet Kaur, were out in single figures, the latter for a first-ball duck.

Thunder had made a solid start after winning the toss and electing to bat, reaching 39 for one in the Powerplay overs. Glenn made a breakthrough for Lightning when she bowled Australian opener McGrath for five but Dunkley clubbed six and four off Jo Gardner’s medium pace in the sixth over.

Luus, having picked up three fours while the fielding restrictions were in place, lofted Gunn over the short straight boundary but when she attempted something similar in the same over was well caught by Georgia Adams, who made good ground to get under the ball at long-on.

Glenn then dealt Thunder a major blow when she bowled Indian star Harmanpreet for a golden duck and the Derby-born leggie claimed her third wicket when she held a return catch to dismiss Ellie Threlkeld to finish with 3 for 25 from her four overs, raising her tally in the tournament to nine wickets.

Thunder needed Dunkley to add to her two sixes but when she lost her leg stump to Gunn for 29 in the 12th over to leave her side 70 for five in the 12th over, their best chance of posting a competitive total seemed to have gone, although a lively partnership between Alex Hartley and Natalie Brown added 25 for the last wicket before the latter was run out off the penultimate ball of the 20th over.

The experienced Nottingham-born Gunn finished with three for 14 in front of her home crowd, while Gardner claimed her maiden KSL wicket when Ria Fackrell was stumped by Jones.

It was Jones who then set the pace for the Lightning chase, hitting 23 off as many balls as the Loughborough side kept exactly in tune with what was required by taking 39 without loss in the powerplay.

Thunder made a breakthrough in the 10th over, breaking the Jones-Atapattu partnership when offspinner Emma Lamb held a low return catch to dismiss the Sri Lankan for 26, but new batter Adams swept her first two balls for four and six as Lightning moved to 73 for one at the halfway stage.

Adams was caught at deep midwicket in the next over as Hartley and Brown put a temporary brake on the scoring but Jones then profited from sweeping Lamb before completing a 44-ball half century in the 14th over with Lightning needing only 25 from 38 balls.

Jones finished the match in style, lofting Hartley over long-on for six off the first ball of the 17th over.



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Somerset part company with chief executive Andrew Cornish

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Somerset are understood to have parted company with their chief executive, Andrew Cornish.

Despite an apparently successful season – Somerset retain hopes of completing a treble and have sold out every one of their home T20 Blast games – the club are concerned about a projected shortfall against their upbeat financial predictions.

At the start of the year, the club anticipated profits of £600,000 (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization). In recent weeks, however, that has been downgraded to the extent that they may struggle to break even.

Somerset have declined to confirm or deny the news. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Cornish who only joined the club at the start of the 2018 season.

Cornish’s departure leaves the club in something of a flux at the top level. The chairman, Charles Clark, recently died meaning they are currently without a permanent chief executive or chairman.

Cornish’s predecessor, Lee Cooper, lasted less than a year in the role meaning the club are looking for their fourth chief executive within two years.

There is no sign of such turbulence on the pitch, however. Somerset, having won the Royal London Cup in May (their first trophy since 2005), are currently second in Division One of the County Championship and have a decent chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast. They have never won the County Championship title.



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